Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mo' lobster, mo' problems?

When I worked for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, one of my jobs was to catch and tag lobsters in Long Island Sound. With each lobster I handled, I'd wish it a "Good luck! Make babies!" Maybe they've been doing that in Maine too, because apparently the lobster population is BOOMING up there! Which is super exciting, right?

"I don't know what they want from ME.
It's like the more lobsters we come across,
the more problems we see."

I recently came across an article by R. W. A. Rodger writing for Canadian Marine Publication titled "American Lobster: Management Success and Market Calalmity". Rodger outlines the struggle between a large lobster population and a depressed economy. It's partially a problem of supply and demand: with such a large supply, the demand isn't as high, and the price of lobster has fallen. In his article, the price per pound is dropping below the cost of the fishery (think fuel, labor, bait, etc.), making it difficult for fishermen to even get out on the water.

all dressed up and no where to go
(photo from here)

So how can this be fixed? Some are saying to limit the fishery to decrease the supply of lobster into the market. But others are worried that, with a lower total allowable catch will come greater population growth, and the "problem" of a super-healthy population will be exacerbated. Another option is to open up recreational lobster fisheries, but honestly, who wants to be a weekend warrior against these guys:

OK, so these guys look pretty nice,
but they're not all so... friendly

What do you think Maine should do? I suggest you go out, buy some lobster, and think it over. Let me know what you come up with!

1 comment:

  1. nice to see the Maine fishery is doing well....sad to see the NY fishery has tanked :(